Citing his new duties as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, etc., former Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer is leaving the company's board.
From a letter addressed to new chief Satya Nadella:
Given my confidence and the multitude of new commitments I am taking on now, I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off. The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately.
I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will. I continue to love discussing the company’s future. I love trying new products and sending feedback. I love reading about what is going on at the company. Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing. The company will move to higher heights. I will be proud, and I will benefit through my share ownership. I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can.
At the New York Times, Nick Wingfield reports on his departure.
Many people had predicted that Mr. Ballmer would leave the board, partly because Mr. Nadella is faced with the challenge of reinvigorating the company, which could involve unwinding some of Mr. Ballmer’s earlier decisions. Mr. Nadella, who also serves on Microsoft’s board, has already made bolder moves than Mr. Ballmer to create services for devices made by Microsoft’s competitors, like the iPad from Apple.
The move gives Nadella a freer hand, writes Shira Ovide at the Wall Street Journal:
"It's the end of an era," said Daniel Ives, an analyst covering Microsoft with FBR Capital Markets. He said Mr. Ballmer remained the "elephant" in Microsoft's boardroom, and his departure fully gives Mr. Nadella a fresh start. "Any sort of overhang of Ballmer being on the board is now in the rear view mirror," Mr. Ives said.